'Canes blank Bears

Published May 7, 2005

When the ball left Ryan McPherson's bat and spiked high in the air, it appeared destined to be the third out of the sixth inning.

Then it dropped into deep rightfield and sent home the winning run for Citrus (18-9), which beat Central (5-15) 3-0. Citrus faces Leesburg (16-8), a 5-3 winner over Crystal River (14-10), at 1 p.m. today.

Mark Xenophon followed McPherson's hit with an RBI off an error, and Nick VanGorden came up next to bat home the third run.

"I thought it was just a routine fly but it got through and it was really big for us," McPherson said. "My hit and Nick's hit, I think, were really the turning points of the game."

The 'Canes saw the offensive spurt as a blessing against Central's Jim Jones. Jones struck out eight through five innings and had allowed just three hits.

"In 15 innings that we've seen him at the varsity level, he's given up four runs, so we knew he was going to be tough going in. We expected that from him," Citrus coach Jon Bolin said. "We were just trying to steal a run."

"Teams overlooked us and those guys just kept battling," Central coach Dan O'Rourke said. "It's hard to justify that you should have won when you put a zero on the board, but I hurt for these seniors."

In the early game, Trent McKibben's two-run home run lifted the Yellow Jackets. Crystal River stranded 11 runners.